David Cage, studio head for Quantic Dream and wonderfully impersonated by our very own Blake Peterson, in an interview with Gamespot, doesn't believe that his more narrative-driven video games should be relegated to the corner of the video game as merely interactive movies:
Some people can be very conservative about this medium and this is sometimes frustrating. Some people wish that games would always stay what they were in the past 30 years, just with more polygons. No one should be allowed to define what a video game is or should be; no one has this power.
Much like the argument that everything is art, he believes that the video game medium shouldn't have too many boundaries:
A video game can be so many different things. Angry Birds is a game; Call of Duty is a game; World of Warcraft is a game; Gone Home is a game. Who can decide 'you are a video game', 'you are not a video game', 'you are not a part of this family?' No. Let's open this medium to whoever has different ideas and it's great to see people trying to do games where shooting is not the main thing.
There are people on both ends of the spectrum that we need to convince. One one side we have hardcore gamers who think that games should only be about shooting and about action and killing and competing and adrenaline. They think video games are just about violence and that there is nothing there for them or that they are too complex to play or that they are not interested in shooting.
I agree and disagree with his stance. I don't believe it's accurate for people to say that a game is not a game when what they really mean to say is that it's a bad game. The inaccuracy is part of the insult, I suppose. But so long as a game has win and lose conditions and a set of rules by which to win and lose, it's a game. By that route, Beyond: Two Souls is a game too.
At the same time, everyone has the right to define what a video game is and the dictionary has the right to exist as well. Certainly, definitions are fluid and certain words and classifications change with time, but not without some resistance.
But the "interactive movie" genre of games isn't exactly new, given point-and-click adventure games, dating sims, all those episodic titles from Telltales Games, and text-based titles as classic as Zork. Beyond: Two Souls just happens to be the same idea but with incredible presentation behind it. Even if the story has its flaws, I recommend (apart from reading my review) at least renting the game because it's one that should be experienced at least once.